When award-winning rapper and actor Ludacris orders up a magnum these days, he’s not talking champagne. Aside from working on his latest album Ludaversal, and appearing in the fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious series, Fast Five (due out later this month), Luda has partnered with Trojan to spread HIV/AIDS awareness. I recently chatted with the hip-hop artist about his gig with the Live Large Project, a freestyle rap competition presented by Magnum.

“Staying safe is extremely important; being safe is extremely important,” said Ludacris, who admitted it’s not such a bad thing being associated with the large condom brand. “I’m a firm supporter of the project; I mean that literally — a firm supporter,” he said . (We get it.)

The Live Large Project is a freestyle rap competition that takes place in several cities across the country (Detroit, Miami, Bay Area, New York City). The winners from each city will get a shot at performing in Miami for a final showdown. The ultimate prize — $5,000 and a year’s supply of condoms. FORBES went to the Highline Ballroom in New York City to catch a glimpse of the competition.

Why did you decide to get involved with the Live Large Project?

[Magnum] came to me and said they wanted to give a lot of underground and up-and-coming emcees a chance to shine, and I felt like it was a great thing because I remember being up-and-coming and a struggling/aspiring artist and just wishing like there were opportunities like this for me to be a part of.

Why promote safe sex?

This is something I’ve been an advocate of for a very long time, whether it be just educating people about HIV/AIDS, or going to different schools and talking about it, the Wrap Up campaign – there’s just so many things that I’ve been a part of but it always comes down to how important safe sex is, for numerous reasons.

So what kind of new talent will help strengthen the future of rap music?

Sometimes it’s almost like going to the mall and you look for something to wear but you don’t know it until you see it — with the up-and-coming talent, it’s really just about noticing something in someone that you don’t see everywhere else, someone that’s a leader and not just following what everyone else is doing. Something new, something fresh. And that’s also why I feel like this is such a great opportunity, because that’s what we are looking for. Newness is the life of the industry, and we are looking for the heartbeat.

Article written by: Amanda Massa; Original Article: Forbes Blog